For the syrup:
Place the water, sugar and cream of tartar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the syrup starts to boil, add the lemon juice and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Cool the syrup to room temperature. Pour half of the syrup into a bowl and keep over ice to cool rapidly. Place the remaining syrup in the fridge to cool.
For the dough:
Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl and then rub in the margarine with your fingertips.
Add the beaten ½ egg to the water and whisk to incorporate.
Make a well in the centre of the fl our mixture. Pour in the water mixture and then start to mix until a smooth dough has formed. Knead thoroughly.
Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 5 hours. Heat the oil to 160 °C.
Using an oiled rolling pin, roll out the dough on an oiled surface to a thickness of 5 mm. Cut the dough into rectangles of 6 x 15 cm. Cut each rectangle lengthways into 3 strips, leaving one side uncut. Plait the 3 strips and press the cut ends together firmly.
Fry in batches of 6 in the hot oil for 6–7 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Drain them for a few seconds on paper towels. Keep the rest of the koeksisters covered to prevent them from drying out.
Dip the koeksisters into the ice-cold syrup while they are still hot. Remove from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack. The syrup will gradually become hot with use, so when you have done about half of the koeksisters take the remaining syrup from the fridge and use this for the balance.
Top tip: For a yummy flavour, add a piece of dried ginger and a stick of cinnamon to the syrup when the lemon juice is added. The colder the syrup the better! Make it the day before and place in the fridge to ensure it is ice cold.
Extracted from MasterChef South Africa: The Cookbook. Human & Rousseau.